Monday, December 29, 2014

Year in Review

Amazingly, I've watched almost every single series aired by TVB this year. Here's my year in review:

Top of the Crop

Never Dance Alone - A series that was unexpectedly enjoyable and heart-warming. Featured some of the best acting of the year by the 7 leading ladies and their young versions. [Review]

Storm in a Cocoon - The best thriller of the year with a well-crafted mystery that kept audiences at the edge of their seats, followed by a classic family-business struggle. [Review]

Exciting Thrillers

Black Heart White Soul - A compact, griping thriller with an unravelling mystery and chilling characters. A fine performance by Roger Kwok that is 100% deserving of the TV King title. [Review]

Line Walker - A suspenseful series that will keep you chasing after it, despite the presence of Sharon Chan and the non-stop looping of sub-theme song. [Review]

Ruse of Engagement - An engaging series that also had an excellent mystery, even if it makes some giant leaps (literally) in logic.

Entertaining Ancient Comedies

Gilded Chopsticks - A good mix of comedy and palace drama. Wong Cho Lam shows off his real talent when he's not dressed as a girl or trying to speak with an accent.

Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain - Fun characters with a bunch of decent cases. [Review]


Tomorrow is Another Day - A series that promised an unprecedented look behind the mysterious prison walls, but in the end focused on the wrong things.

Overachievers - The business battle that never happened. [Review]

The Ultimate Addiction - The only addiction in here is TVB's addiction to love triangles and dumb revenge plots. [Review]

Tiger Cubs II - It's almost a chore to watch the incompetent SDU squad plus a crazy bulging eye madam running around like idiots every week.

Decent Fillers

Outbound Love - A nice little series filmed in Malaysia with a playful Ruco Chan. Enjoyable while it lasted.

Return of the Silver Tongue - Don't even remember anything about it except that it was about ancient lawyers.

Rear Mirror - A mellow series about a bus driver and a CEO *yawn* [Thoughts]

All That is Bitter is Sweet - The series doesn't move along until at least half-way through, but Natalie Tong was a highlight to watch.

Waste of Time

Queen Divas - When even 15 episodes is too much...

Swipe Tap Love - An aimless plot with a miserable mood.

Come On, Cousin - A random mash-up of lame comedy. Quite possibly the worse anniversary series ever.

ICAC Investigators 2014 - No effort whatsoever was put into the story-telling of the cases.

Shades of Life - The attempt to examine the social issues of Hong Kong was superficial and sometimes propaganda-like.


Coffee Cat Mama - Caught parts of it, mostly of Vincent Wong and Nancy Wu's storyline.

Lady Sour - The cheesy-sounding plot was all I needed to stay away from this series.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Noblesse Oblige Theme Song

The theme song for Noblesse Oblige is sung by Ronald Law and Grace Wong, called "Gossip" (是非).

Theme Song MV

Friday, December 19, 2014

Overview - Noblese Oblige

Nuns-to-be Tavia Yeung and Cilla Kung are desperate to find money to treat the head nun's illness. By coincidence, they meet the wealthy heir of a bank (Kenneth Ma) and are forced to become maids at his household to repay their debts. Tavia often has to save Kenneth from trouble with her superior martial arts skills. Although they disagree with each other, they still support each other during critical times and unconsciously develop a strong bond. With the help of a nobleman, Kenneth becomes a magistrate. His career goes smoothly with help from his brother Joel Chan, who is a governor, and good friend Benjamin Yuen. However, Kenneth soon discovers the corruption and abuse of power in the political world. People around him will act in perverse ways for the sake of personal gain. When he discovers the truth behind the massacre of Tavia's family when she was young, it gets them both thrown into jail...

Noblesse Oblige Promo Clips

As one fan pointed out, "noblesse oblige" is a French phrase that means "obligation of nobility". It is the idea that people of noble status have an obligation to act kindly and generously towards others, particularly those of lower status. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Overachievers Review

Producer: Marco Law
Genre: Modern, business
Cast: Wayne Lai, Raymond Wong, Power Chan, Raymond Cho, Edwin Siu, Nancy Wu, Susanna Kwan, Maggie Siu

This series is exactly like the wealthy family that it is depicting – glamorous on the outside, but rotten on the inside. As an anniversary series, Overachievers has a grand appearance: an all-star cast, extravagant sets, glamorous clothing... okay, maybe not so nice hairstyles... but the plot was a disaster.

It's easy to understand why the Chinese title was changed from "Business Wars", because business was certainly the least of the worries in here. The first two episodes feature a seemingly intense war between father and son. But after that, it is almost forgotten and replaced with pointless drama between irrelevant characters. The Raymond-Nancy love-sickness was a drag. Power Chan and Maggie Siu, while both are entertaining, add almost nothing to the overall plot. The entire Edwin-Sisley line was neither entertaining nor necessary. After twenty episodes, you will realize you've gotten nowhere. Then in the last week or so, the plot takes a turn for the worse and we suddenly have a few wackos at our hands. Until finally, everything is wrapped up in a ridiculous ending.

The biggest problem was certainly the dramatic character changes. Elliot Ngok's character suddenly decides he's going to push away all his children with his unreasonableness and Raymond Wong's character becomes an insane serial killer. I get that these two characters drive the series to its climax, but it is really hard to watch when everything stems from such illogicialness. The character that was actually the most interesting, but ultimately wasted, was Susanna Kwan. From the way she handled her husband's infidelity, she was made to seem like a smart, calculating lady who patiently awaits her chance for revenge. Yet in the end, she proves incapable of managing the corporation or getting revenge on her son's true killer.

Wayne Lai seems to have lost his touch and now only acts as various versions of Chai Gau in his dramas. Raymond Wong has too much "force" in his acting, like the way he pushes his dialogue out or the way he grabs his female co-stars. Edwin Siu is over-exaggerative in his attempt to deliver comedy. Raymond Cho is good as the useless son, but this is not a break-through for him. Power Chan is the best of the "Five Tigers", as he always finds a way to make his characters stand out. Elliot Ngok acting is just right as the patriarch and is also convincing in the scenes after his stroke. Amazingly, Jason Chan's acting was not cringe-worthy in this series. There was only about one scene where I noticed his hands gesturing randomly. Fred Cheng is cute in his performance.

Nancy Wu is a capable actress, but she never attracts attention on the screen. In contrast, Maggie Siu can grab attention with her expressions or movements even when she is not talking. Susanna Kwan was the perfect choice for the semi-villainous step-mother. Unfortunately, her character didn't use all of her potential. Grace Chan was impressive in her debut. She is natural and at ease next to the veterans, and her crying scenes can already beat out some actresses with more experience. Sisley Choi also made a good debut, but she has a weaker screen presence compared to Grace. Ali Lee was quite noticeable too.

Rating: 3/5. Overachievers underachieved.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Officer Geomancer - Preview of Cases

Case #1: Missing Person
Wealthy businessman Eric Chung's wife (Rosanne Lui) has reported that her daughter is missing. Joey Meng orders Johnson Lee to investigate, but he is too busy investigating the neighbours' missing underwear cases. Joey is about to blow her top, but Johnson insists on following his instinct, which is to look for the underwear thief first...

Case #2: Strangeness on Campus
Joey re-encounters her crush from seven years ago, who is now a university professor (Ricky Fan). Johnson points out that Ricky has black clouds hanging over his head, but Joey believes all the strange occurrences are only unlucky coincidences. But when a series of cases occur in which the victim is murdered using bright lights and Ricky goes missing, Joey starts to believe Johnson...

Case #3: Lost Gun & Lost Memories
Mimi Chu comes across her old rival Mak Ling Ling at a gathering. Afterwards, Mimi, along with her gun, go missing. She is later found at the hospital with partial memory loss. But each time she sees Law Lok Lam, she will call him "Big Brother" and refer to herself as a child.

Case #4: Zombie Fright
When Joey receives a call about the discovery of a corpse, Harriet Yeung follows along to get first-hand news. Harriet instantly recognizes that the deceased had once tried to steal her purse. Later, a witness claims that they saw a "zombie" crazily biting people. As Oscar Leung is helping Johnson chase the zombie, he is bitten...

Case #5: Return of a Rival
Oscar encounters his father's former business partner (Sam Tsang) who had caused the family's bankruptcy. Now Sam offers Oscar an opportunity and they become friends. But Johnson can tell that Sam is up to no good and tries to convince Oscar to quit as soon as possible.

Case #6: Life or Death Uncertainty
Johnson meets a social worker, Candice Chiu. It evokes dark childhood memories of being kidnapped and his foster father (Vincent Lam) being killed. There will be a shocking result and Joey will be endangered because of it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

TVB Raspberry Awards

The Golden Raspberry Awards are presented annually to the worst of Hollywood. So why not hand out some “Razzies” to TVB’s biggest flops?

Most Unnecessary Character: Edwin Siu (Overachievers) – Completely irrelevant to the main plot and took up an annoying amount of screen-time.

Most Annoying Song: “More Difficult, More Love” (Line Walker) – Flat singing by Jinny Ng and mercilessly looped in every episode.

Most "Ugh" Moment: Opening ending for Storm in a Cocoon – Is it too much to ask for to have a happy ending for Stevia?

Most Over-hyped Series: Come On, Cousin – The success of the first series didn't translate into success for the sequel. A random mash-up of nothingness that did not deserve to be the anniversary series.

Least Improved: Ron Ng (Ruse of Engagement & Black Heart White Soul) – Almost ten years since The Academy and he is still the same hot-headed cop with the same angry expression.

Worst Debut: Gloria Tang (The Ultimate Addiction) – Recited all her lines in the same emotionless way.

Worst Supporting Actress: Sharon Chan (The Ultimate Addiction & Line Walker) – Two times as a madam, two times the horror.

Worst Supporting Actor: Oscar Leung (Line Walker) – Went way overboard with the gangster style.

And finally, the biggest awards of the night... Drumroll, please...

Worst Actor: Wong Cho Lam (Come On, Cousin) – Exaggerated acting with unnecessary accent; overall lame attempt at humour.

Worst Actress: Linda Chung (All That Is Bitter Is Sweet) – Slow reactions and fake expressions; she never fitted in with the rest of the drama.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Awards Analysis Bonus!

Here's a bonus post to the Awards Analysis series!

Broadcast Time Slot
Last time, we looked at the relation between the broadcast date and award chances, but what about the broadcast time slot?
  • It turns out that 9:30 shows have dominated the awards ceremony, winning 80% of awards since 2007. Note: Only data from 2007 onward was included because TVB ran a different schedule before then.
  • The 8:30 slot may not receive as many awards, however, they have produced the last four Best Actress winners (Sheren Tang, Myolie Wu, Tavia Yeung and Kristal Tin).

Anniversary Series
The anniversary series tend to be the most heavily promoted series of the year. Does it bolster the chances of winning an award?
  • Overall, 11 of 80 (14%) awards have been given to roles from an anniversary series. (To put things in perspective, remember that TVB airs an average of 20+ series each year and generally only two (~10%) are labelled as anniversary series.)
  • Best Actor/Actress contenders receive the greatest boost from an anniversary series. Of the 34 BA awards in history, seven (21%) have come from roles in an anniversary series. 
  • Best Supporting contenders are at the average, with 3 out of 22 (14%) winners coming from an anniversary series.
  • On the other hand, the Best Series award has never been presented to an anniversary series.
  • Characters from anniversary series don't get much love either. Only 1 out of 16 (6%) Favourite Character winners has come from an anniversary series (Tavia Yeung in Beyond the Realm of Conscience).

Episode Count
Do longer series give the audience more time to appreciate one's acting?
  • The average number of episodes for an award-winning series is 31.4 episodes. The number is slightly lower at 30.4 episodes if we remove the effect of multiple awards for a series.
  • The longest award-winning series is the 100-episode sitcom War of the Genders, which got Best Actress for Dodo Cheng. 
  • The shortest is the 10-episode mini-series The Threat of Love II. It won the Powerhouse (Best Supporting) Actress for Sheren Tang.
  • The Best Actor/Actress award has the highest average episode count at 34.4 episodes. Meanwhile, the Best Supporting award requires the lowest episode count with an average of 27.4 episodes. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Awards Analysis: By Age

This is the last of a three part series that will analyze TVB Anniversary Awards results based on different variables.

What is the prime age to win a certain award?
  • The average age to win a major award (Best Acting, Best Supporting, Favourite Character) is 39.5 years old. The average age for the Most Improved award is 28 years old. 
  • The category with the highest average age is the Best Supporting Actor at 47.5 years old. This is led by Benz Hui who won at the age of 65.
  • The Most Improved Actress has the lowest average age with just 26.3 years old. Linda Chung was the youngest winner at age 22. 
  • The average age of male winners is higher than their female counterparts for all the award categories, except for Favourite Character.
  • 2013 was the year with the highest average age (41.6 years) across all winners, while 2006 had the lowest average (32.3 years). Note: Only the years from 2006 onward was considered for this calculation since that was when TVB started having a full slate of award winners.
  • There is an upward trend in terms of age for all the award categories, except for Best Supporting Actress, which has a downward trend.

See also:
Awards Analysis Part 1: By Producer
Awards Analysis Part 2: By Broadcast Date

Officer Geomancer Theme Song

The theme song for Officer Geomancer is "Rebel" (造反) by Fred Cheng.

Theme Song MV:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Awards Analysis: By Broadcast Date

This is the second of a three part series that will analyze TVB Anniversary Awards results based on different variables.

Does the broadcast date really affect the chances of getting an award?
  • April and August appear to be the best months to broadcast a series, since they each have a total of 13 awards. This number is bolstered by the fact that multi-award winning series Heart of Greed and Rosy Business had April releases, while August was helped by War and Beauty
  • If we remove the effect of multiple awards from the same series, then October is the best month for a series. There have been 7 unique series released in October that have won awards.
  • The five months (July-November) leading up to the award ceremony have accounted for 55% of the total awards. The stat holds true for the number of unique award-winning series.
  • October dramas have produced the most number (7) of Best Actor/Actress winners. 
  • August dramas have resulted in the most number (4) of Best Supporting winners.
  • April, May and July dramas have each produced three Favourite Character winners.
  • August is the most popular month for a Best Series winner, with 4.

The awards taken into consideration are Best Series, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting and Most Favourite Character. The Most Favourite Character category only counts the award winners from 2006 onward and not the Top 12 My Favourite Character awards from 2000-2004. The Best Supporting category includes its predecessor, the Powerhouse Actor/Actress award, presented in 2003-2004. Broadcast date is determined by the month in which the first episode of the series was aired.

See also: Awards Analysis Part 1: By Producer

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Overview - Officer Geomancer

Johnson Lee is not your ordinary police constable. He is an expert in geomancy, which he uses at critical moments to solve mysterious cases. He also has Oscar Leung, who is connected with people conducting both legal and illegal activities, as his informant. His outlandish character often leaves his superior, Joey Meng, astonished. Joey is a criminal psychologist who uses rationale to analyze everything. They appear to be polar opposites, yet through working together, they develop an unspoken mutual understanding. Outside of work, Joey only cares about the marriages of her younger siblings, Harriet Yeung and Fred Cheng. When Harriet becomes involved in a love triangle with Oscar and Joey's subordinate, Rebecca Zhu, Joey loses control of her emotions. Luckily, Johnson is there to help her. At this time, a series of missing persons cases occur. The culprit's modus operendi evokes Johnson's memories of the past, which he has been hiding for many years. Joey is about to put her life at risk and Johnson foresees...

Officer Geomancer Promo Clips

Friday, December 05, 2014

Awards Analysis: By Producer

This is the first of a three part series that will analyze TVB Anniversary Awards results based on different variables.

Who is the winningest producer in TVB history?
  • Lau Ka Ho is the top producer with a total of 14 awards deriving from his dramas. The majority (12) of those awards come from the Heart of Greed and Moonlight Resonance series. In 2008, his dramas completely swept the podium, taking home all the major awards. 
  • Lee Tim Sing comes in second with 10 awards. Most (9) of those awards are from the Rosy Business/No Regrets franchise. He is the leading active producer at TVB.
  • Chong Wai Kin, and Poon Kai Tak have the most number of series that have won awards, with five each. 
  • Lau Ka Ho has the most number of unique award winners, with 9 actors owing their awards to his series.
  • Chong Wai Kin, Jonathan Chik, Lau Ka Ho and Lee Tim Sing have each produced four Best Actor/Actress winners.
  • Jonathan Chik, Lau Ka Ho and Lee Tim Sing have each produced three Best Supporting winners.
  • Lau Ka Ho leads the way for Favourite Character awards with five.
  • Jonathan Chik and Lau Ka Ho are tied with two Best Series each.

The awards taken into consideration are Best Series, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting and Most Favourite Character. The Most Favourite Character category only counts the award winners from 2006 onward and not the Top 12 My Favourite Character awards from 2000-2004. The Best Supporting category includes its predecessor, the Powerhouse Actor/Actress award, presented in 2003-2004.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Screen Time Hoggers 2014

Nancy Wu

Nancy led the way with five series this year. She finally got a happy ending with familiar partner Vincent Wong in Coffee Cat Mama, but her love life was not as smooth elsewhere. In Gilded Chopsticks, she was forced into a political marriage. She was a smart businesswoman in The Ultimate Addiction and Overachievers, but cheated in love. Perhaps all the heartbreak got to her, so she decided to change her look completely and portray a villain in Tiger Cubs II.

Vincent Wong

Vincent didn't have to endure any more slaps this year. Instead, he was the "Prince of Enduring Love". He held a crush on his best friend of many years in Coffee Cat Mama. In Swipe Tap Love, he retained feelings for his former flame despite breaking up. In Tomorrow is Another Day, he showed unconditional love for a woman who helped him sixteen years ago. Vincent is equally dedicated to his job, working in the ICAC for twenty years in ICAC Investigators 2014.

Ruco Chan

Ruco seems to be compatible with anyone he works with. His charm worked twice on Aimee Chan, in Outbound Love and Ruse of Engagement, allowing them to bring home the My Favourite On-Screen Couple award from the TVB Star Awards Malaysia. His chemistry with Linda Chung in All That is Bitter is Sweet even sparked off-screen rumours. Maybe it's the soccer skills that he showed off in ICAC Investigators 2014 that attracts the ladies. Ruco's hard work was rewarded with being crowned TV King at Singapore's Starhub Awards.

Elaine Yiu

Elaine has secured the ex-wife/ex-girlfriend role. First, she broke up with Ruco Chan in Outbound Love for better career prospects. Then, she left Raymond Wong in Swipe Tap Love because of the pressure of being an adoptive mother. Even taking care of her own biological child proved too much, causing her to abandon Wayne Lai in Rear Mirror. Luckily, she finally found a loving family with Jack Wu and a son in Shades of Life.

Raymond Wong

Raymond is always dependable whether it is in big or small productions. Following Karma Rider, he renewed his fate with Priscilla Wong in Swipe Tap Love. He did double duty in All That is Bitter is Sweet, portraying two brothers with contrasting personalities. In Overachievers, he collaborated with the "Eunuch Five Tigers" again and plays the ultimate villain. He also had an appearance in ICAC Investigators 2014.

Matt Yeung

Ladies, beware if you want to date Matt Yeung. He was the "Worst Boyfriend" in Outbound Love, cheating on his fiancé with her best friend. Additionally, he set up his girlfriend for jail in Black Heart White Soul. Luckily, he redeems his image in Storm in a Cocoon by portraying a simple-minded and sweet boyfriend to Natalie Tong. Matt joined the sitcom Come Home Love as a regular cast member and also had guest star roles in Swipe Tap Love and Shades of Life. He has earned a nomination for Most Improved Actor at the TVB Anniversary Awards.

*See who was on last year's list